Current Newsletter


Options for reading The Searchlight, our monthly newsletter:

  • Read it in the body of the email announcing availability of the current issue
  • Read it below on this web page
  • View/print the PDF version
  • Get a printed copy in the mail (available only by special request to the Church Administrator)

To read the October 2017 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Worship Message: Resilient Community Weaves In . . . Difference

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

– Audre Lorde

Monoculture is a common practice in agriculture in which only one crop is planted, grown and harvested every year. On the one hand, a monoculture is easy to maintain – you do the same thing for all your fields, quickly, and efficiently – which is why it is so common in industrialized agriculture. But a monoculture is not resilient. A single bug infestation, or weather pattern, or other misfortune can wipe out an entire year’s crop in a blink. It also depletes resources at a faster rate. Polyculture, on the other hand, takes more work. You must care for each crop differently and with attention. And yet, a polyculture is more likely to nurture complementary resources rather than depleting without replenishment. And when disaster strikes, you are more likely to be left with something to eat.

I believe the same is true for human cultures. Monocultures without much human difference are much easier, but they are insular, fragile, and threatened by the evolving nature of our world and human lives. Multi-cultural community, on the other hand, takes work, attention, and our willingness to be made uncomfortable. Humans, though we are all human, are profoundly different from one another in ways that challenge us. And yet, celebrating and building upon our differences helps us have resources and social sustenance when hard things hit. Difference makes us resilient.

A community made resilient by difference does the spiritual work of leaning into discomfort to truly find acceptance and celebration of the many ways we live and move and have our being in this world. The work is harder, but the reward is great. Come join us this month for this hard good work!

See you in church!

Back to Contents

October Worship – 9 and 11 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 1 – “Holy Difference” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

When I am describing Unitarian Universalism to folks for the first time, one of the characteristics I name is: “We believe difference is holy, rather than threatening.” And yet, this belief can be hard to live out in these times and in this world. Join us to consider how we live a life where difference is holy.

Sunday, Oct. 8 – “Reflections from Honduras” – UUCC Honduras Team

A group of 16 went on the fourth UUCC service trip to build latrines, offer Pap smears in a clinic and paint the clinic and the elementary school in a Honduran village. Several people from the group will share their reflections on this very special trip. A Faith-to-Action collection will be taken to support the Honduras Ministry’s ongoing work.

Sunday, Oct. 15 – “Listening So Others May Speak, Speaking So Others May Listen” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

How do we have useful conversations across difference in a polarized and polarizing time? Join us to consider how we might listen in a way that others will speak, and how we might speak so that we might truly be heard.

Sunday, Oct. 22 – “I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Difference enriches our communities, but could it also enrich the identity of our very own souls? Join us to consider the complexities of the self, how we contain contradiction, and how we grow over time, awaking a different self each day.

Sunday, Oct. 29 – “This is Halloween” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Join us for a lively and poignant intergenerational service as we explore the home-grown American tradition of Halloween and find its wisdom about transformation. We will also share our yearly ritual creating an altar of remembrance for those loved ones we have lost. Participants of all ages are invited to bring a photo or memento of a loved one now gone for our altar.

Back to Contents

Forum Schedule for October

The UU Forum, an adult discussion group open to the public, meets on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. Conversation and light refreshments are offered along with the discussion. Forum coordinator: Bill Clark, 573-474-4510.

Oct. 1: George Frissell will return and discuss another type of “religious” belief – “secularism.”

Oct. 8: Shakir Hamoodi will talk to us and answer our questions about Islam.

Oct. 15: Diane Suhler will take us to Africa with her ongoing humanitarian work.

Oct. 22: Dr. Robert Blake will discuss why Americans pay so much for prescription drugs and what can be done about it.

Oct. 29: Dr. Chuck Swaney will open up an art world we forgot – “New Deal Art.”

Back to Contents

Fun in the Forest – UUCC Second Annual Campout – Oct. 13-15 at Bergfried

Fall colors, campfires, s’mores, singing, hiking,
music, games, and an outdoor Sunday Service

Our Green Sanctuary Team has planned the second annual All-Church Campout at Bergfried near Hermann, Mo. from Friday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 15. The 600-acre facility is owned our UU friends at Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood, Mo.

Campers will experience fall colors, campfires, s’mores, singing, hiking, music, games, and an outdoor Sunday worship service. The entire weekend has been reserved, so come for as short or long stay as you like.

The campers had a lot of fun last year and expect an even better experience this year. In addition to being a great time for children, it gives all our members a chance to make deeper connections with each other.

Campers can camp in the open or in tents or stay in the cottage or bunkhouses (first-come, first-served). The cottage has water, electricity, a double bed, two twin beds and three portable twin floor mattresses that can be used on the screened porch. There are two bunkhouses, one with four beds and the other with five.

The cost will be a small donation to cover food and the rental of Bergfried. To sign up for the campout, click the button below.

Back to Contents

President’s Perspective – “Our Ministry” – by Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

The start of our church year has been a blur for me. A lot of my brain capacity has been tied up in my day job, but that’s only part of it.

At the Board of Trustees retreat in August, we spent Friday night and all day Saturday with Rev. Roger Bertschausen. Some of you may remember Roger because he was in our pulpit one Sunday while Rev. Molly was on maternity leave. But he is also an expert in policy governance, and that is why we asked him to meet with us.

We had three objectives for this retreat: For the board members to feel a deeper sense of connection with each other and our spiritual grounding as leaders; to develop a working understanding of policy-based governance and the board’s responsibility, authority and accountability in UUCC’s governance; and to develop a plan for moving forward with strategic planning that is consistent with UUCC’s policy-based governance. I think all of us feel that we successfully met those objectives. But we have a lot more work to do in these areas, and I will be sharing details as we begin to put what we learned into practice.

Since the retreat, our church has celebrated the beginning of our worship calendar with our Water Ceremony, then our Labor Day service and our first introduction in person to Marques Ruff, Interim Music Director. The following weekend was our church picnic, enjoyed by more than 70 members and friends, from toddlers to elders. Last Sunday we restarted our two-service schedule, and the choir treated us with their wonderful a cappella performances.

Now, I am writing this after spending the morning on Sept. 16 with about 20 of the leaders of our congregation, discussing some of the topics I’ve mentioned, as well as plans for worship themes and ministry priorities for this year. My head is spinning.

And yet . . . .

This morning also reminded me that none of the “leaders” attending the meeting are doing what they do for a paycheck. Nobody makes them do it. They do it because it is their contribution to the shared ministry of the congregation and to the wider community.

As the UUA website puts it:

Ministry is no longer an act provided only by those who are ordained or called to serve. Ministry happens wherever individuals embrace the belief that their good works, their volunteerism, their acts, can help serve the mission and vision of their congregation.

Spending time with this group gave me some insight into why the past month has seemed a blur to me. In my opening paragraph, I referred to my “day job” in implied contrast to my “other job” as UUCC President. That has been the way I have been feeling. But spending time connecting with these individuals who so willingly give of their time reminded me that what I am doing is not a job, but the ministry I have been called to. Thanks to all who helped remind me.

If you are ever feeling overburdened by or disconnected from our congregation, I have some advice: Ask yourself, “What is my ministry?” The answer will help clear your mind.

Back to Contents

Welcoming Team Announcements

For Our Newcomers: “Getting to Know UU”

(For all those who want to know more about us)

On the first Sunday of each month in Rev. Molly’s office after the second worship service for about 30 minutes. Child care provided.

Ready to Join?

During the 11 a.m. service on Oct. 15, we will be welcoming new members into our community. If you have taken the membership classes or spoken with Rev. Molly about joining the Church and feel ready to take that step, you are welcome to join us in this rite of passage. If you are unable to attend this service or have further questions, please call 442-5764 or email the Church Administrator.

For Everyone – Potluck on Oct. 15!

The Welcoming Team invites you to join us for a potluck after the 11 a.m. service on Oct. 15. Bring your usual wonderful food items, whether created in your kitchen or acquired at the grocery store, and join us in welcoming those who have joined us as new members.

Back to Contents

Harvest Supper Potluck – 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11

Church members and friends and their children are invited to join us at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 for the Annual Harvest Supper sponsored by our Green Sanctuary Team. We’ll share delicious food and enjoy entertainment. Local beer and wine will be available for a donation.

As was the case last year, the supper will be a potluck. There is no need to sign up or buy a ticket. Everyone is welcome – just bring a dish to share, and try to use locally produced ingredients from our surrounding area or other parts of Missouri as much as possible.

We will be providing information on good places to obtain ingredients, including the Columbia Farmer’s Market, which will be open Saturdays through November.

This is a family friendly event, so plan to bring your kids!

– Kyna Byerly, coordinator

Back to Contents

CROP Walk 2017 Successful

The Church World Service CROP Walk to raise funds for hunger relief in Columbia, across the US and around the world took place on Sept. 17 at Stephens Lake Park.

At the time of this interfaith event, more than $21,000 had already been raised.

Pictured below are some UUCC members who participated: From left, Vic Myers, Carole Simon, Allie Gassmann and Ian Thomas (who read Mayor Brian Treece’s proclamation).

Back to Contents

Programs and Events

“Oppression Monopoly” – Sponsored by the Social Action Team – 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6

The UUCC Social Action Team will sponsor this workshop with Richard Harvey, PhD. Dr. Harvey is a professor of social and industrial/organizational psychology at St. Louis University. He has published research on topics such as racism, colorism, and organizational identity.

Dr. Harvey will present his “Oppression Monopoly” teaching game to our community as a way of exploring the dynamics of group-based inequity. A post-game debriefing will facilitate group discussion about how to effectively remedy group-based disadvantages and injustice.

The game provides an experiential understanding of the structural dynamics and consequences of group inequalities such as income and housing.

UUCC provides Loaves and Fishes meal on third Sundays

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – Oct. 15 this month.

Please sign up here to prepare food for this meal and/or to help set up, serve, and clean up.

Serving meals at Loaves and Fishes is a project of our Social Action Team.

If you have questions, email Diane Suhler.

“The Work That Reconnects”

Join us for bi-monthly group work in “The Work That Reconnects,” a program developed by Buddhist scholar, author and teacher Joanna Macy and facilitated by Caya Tanski-French.

The central purpose of “The Work That Reconnects” is to deepen our relationship with each other and with the self-healing powers in the web of life, taking us from despair and helping to motivate and empower us to reclaim our lives, our communities, and our planet.

For more information, contact Caya by email.

Conversations, Etc. – Oct. 11

Conversations, Etc. UU Women’s Group meets monthly on second Wednesdays at the church at noon. Bring a brown bag lunch and a snack to share if you wish.

Call Melinda Farhangi at 573-445-6326 if you have questions.

Book Discussion Group

The UUCC Book Discussion Group will meet at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 at ABC Chinese Cuisine. Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly. For information call Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642.

Kaleidoscope – Oct. 28

Our Kaleidoscope pagan group will gather at church at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 for Samhain (sa-win), Year’s Ending.

The veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grows thin. Now is the time to remember those who have passed, and explore within ourselves those changes we need or want to make in our lives.

Please bring small mementos of those you have lost for the altar, and, if you so desire, feel free to make a Samhain vow for the coming year during the ritual.

The group will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

Men’s Group – Oct. 14 and 28

The UUCC Men’s Group meets on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The group is open to all men. There are no fees and no reservations are necessary.

The agenda is an open discussion of whatever is on the minds of those in attendance – and breakfast!

For more information email Wiley Miller.

Hook & Needle Group

Take a break and join our church’s Hook & Needle Group. Yarn, patterns and tutoring are available. The group meets at the church on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

For more information, call Marian Hjelmfelt 573-449-5118.

Grieving Circle

If you or someone you know would like to meet in a facilitated grieving circle, or you wish to be in a place where you can freely and safely express your grief, please contact Rev Molly, Maria Oropallo, Barbara Carter or Greg Bergman. All of our contact information is in the church directory on our website. Or you can send us an email.

Grieving a loss is personal and can sometimes be overwhelming. A community can provide great support in your time of need. With deep connection, love, and patience, we hold your grief in our gentle embrace.

Mindfulness Meditation

Join us for Mindfulness Meditation at 10:05 a.m. in the Centering Room or around the Fire Circle.

Meditators of all levels of experience are welcome. This is mainly silent meditation with some instruction, if needed, and with brief selected readings from eminent teachers.

For more information email Peter Holmes.

Back to Contents


Joys and Sorrows now posted on website

Joys and Sorrows shared during our worship services and noted for the e-newsletter can now be found here on our website. The page is password protected.

You must be registered to access the password-protected pages on the website. Information about how to register can be found here.

Need a ride?

Do you need a ride to church on Sunday, or a church function at another time? We are coordinating rides as part of the Caring Ministry.

Please call the church office at 573-442-5764 or email Meredith Donaldson or Win Scott, Team Leaders.

UUCC Mission Statement

In the spirit of courageous love, we forge a community of radical welcome and deep connection that moves us together to heal the world.

Back to Contents


DRE’s Message

I was talking with a young person in our church recently who was discouraged that they didn’t have a skill that another person had. Perhaps you have felt this way before. One of the amazing things I have learned from being a part of a church community is how each person brings their own unique skills, and gifts, and strengths, and it is through our differences that we have such a vibrant community.

This month, our theme is “Difference,” and I hope you spend the month of October celebrating how all of our uniqueness, both in our congregation and in the broader world, enriches each other’s lives. Here are some ways you can celebrate difference this month with your children:

  • As the leaves start changing, go on a leaf hunt, and appreciate the unique beauty of each leaf – look closely at color, shape and size.
  • See how many people you can name in our church and what unique qualities they bring to our community.
  • Participate in our Service Sunday Workshop on Oct. 1 to learn about difference, disability, and inclusion.
    Go somewhere where there are people different from you and strike up a conversation. The YUUTs class will be visiting Beth Shalom to meet people of a different religion. Where could you go?
  • Read The Family Book by Todd Parr and discuss the different ways families live and love together.

Junior Youth 2017-2018 begins Oct. 13!

Junior Youth is the monthly Friday event for 6th-8th graders in our church. The youth will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 to decide what activities they will do this year in their meetings – fun games, meaningful service projects, and always lots of pizza!

UUCC’s Monthly Hiking Groups

Oct. 15, 1:45 p.m.: A family-friendly hike at Grindstone Nature Area. Meet in parking lot at UUCC.

Oct. 17 , 9:45 a.m.: A shorter hike suitable for the smallest UUs. Meet in parking lot at Grindstone Nature Area.

October R.E. Schedule

Oct. 1: Service Sunday – Learning about Difference, Disability, and Inclusion

Oct. 8: Regular R.E. classes

Oct. 15: Regular R.E. classes

Oct. 22: Regular R.E. classes

Oct. 27: YUUTs visit Congregation Beth Shalom at 7 p.m.

Oct. 29: Halloween Intergenerational Service – costumes encouraged!

Pie and Board Games

Join us for this monthly event for all ages from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14. Bring your favorite board game, your favorite pie, or both, and come for a time of fun and fellowship and pie.

Back to Contents

Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-4 p.m. at church, Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kaldi’s Coffee Downtown, and
by appointment (including evenings and weekends)

Kathie Bergman, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m.-noon and by appointment

Back to Contents

2017-2018 Board of Trustees

Todd Iveson, President
Barbara Rupp, President-Elect
Patty Daus, Treasurer
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Mark Johnson
Peter Holmes
Jenny Bossaller
Gretchen Maune

Back to Contents

Searchlight Publication Information

The Searchlight is published monthly by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri.
Submissions: By email or postal mail to Church Administrator. The deadline for submissions is noon on the third Monday of each month for the following month’s edition.

Back to Contents